by Ann Somerville, futuristic (2010, reissue)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-986-1
This review was for the original self-published edition of this book.
Firstly, I'd like to thank the kind person who'd like to remain anonymous for helping me purchase this book. I am at the time of writing having some connectivity problems with websites outside Malaysia, you see, and Lulu is especially problematic for me as the website won't even load for me. Knowing my plight, this person offered to purchase this book for me as a gift. Thank you so much!
Somatesthesia is a futuristic thriller with a strong romantic element between the central main characters. Set in 2042, we have our Special Crime Investigator heroes Devlin Grace and Connor Hutchens working together to stop a villain from mutilating and even killing children across the country. Connor is the more angst-ridden one here as he is starved for affection and he also has heightened sensory abilities, but Devlin isn't a lightweight either in the angst department.
Ann Somerville always a good writer with an engaging style of writing and she also creates some of the best woobies I've come across. Here, Devlin and Connor are a very likable couple. I feel that the author has included one too many lecture-like exposition in this story for my liking, but she has nonetheless fleshed out her characters very well. They aren't just one-dimensional walking angst-bots, they have depths and substance. I also love how their angst is balanced very nicely with some moments of light humor, just as how there are some tender moments here that make me go, "Awww, that's so sweet!" I believe these two are my favorite couple so far from this author.
Unfortunately, this story fares better as a romance than a thriller. The suspense is lacking in comparison because of several issues. Firstly, the pacing is a little too slow to create that urgent sense of suspense needed to make a thriller work. Secondly, it's a pity that Ms Somerville has to resort to the tired and never believable plot device of having the villain cackle like a cartoon character while explaining his dastardly plot to the good guys during the final showdown. Thirdly, and this one is related in a way to the first problem that I mentioned earlier, the author tends to gloss over a few key scenes in the story, thus diluting the impact of those scenes. As a result, the suspense element feels rather lightweight compared to the emotional component of the story.
Somatesthesia is a great romance, but as a thriller, it's a disappointment. Adjusting your expectations accordingly before you begin reading will most likely help you appreciate the strengths of this book so much better.
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